Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Project Ideas...

I'm not a huge fan of Christmas.  I don't like the commercial present buying frenzy.  Sometimes when I find the perfect present it works, but that is rare.  There are some things though that make it a little less stressful.
My sister and I have a tradition where we buy each other cookbooks, garden, or project books. We read them before we wrap them and enter little written comments throughout the book.  Because we live far apart and don't get to go through those things together, it makes it feel like we are sharing the experience.  I highly recommend it if you aren't close to a loved one.  I'm expanding that tradition to my nieces this year.  I got the older girls craft books.  My husband and I are going to make a few of the projects and leave them in the books for the girls. 

I do enjoy making things to give. I like to make jar mixes, jam, wine, and jerky.  I just bottled up some Red Letter Raspberry wine and some grape jelly. My table runner is making progress. Slow, but steady.  Below is a photo of last year's big Christmas project:  Jar mixes.  I made about 8 different kinds.  I put them in vintage jars given to me  by a friend that was moving. 

 Anyway, for those of you who struggle like me for ideas I would like to share some ideas and resources.   Our Best Bites ( and Recipe Gold Mine ( are great sources for ideas.  I will leave you with my hot fudge recipe from our old 4-H cook book.  
           4-H Hot Fudge Sauce  
1/4 c. Cocoa              1/2 c. Sugar
1/2. Light syrup        2 T. Butter
1/4 c. cream or evaporated milk

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, remove from heat and add 1/2 t. vanilla.  Keep in fridge and enjoy on ice cream or banana splits. Goes great with the strawberry sauce recipe I shared in a previous post. I like to use olive oil bottles for storage. 

I hope this gave you some ideas for holiday sharing.  I know I have enjoyed blog hopping and getting ideas.   


  1. I really like the idea of reading the books beforehand, and writing comments in the pages! That really does make the gift more personal. And thanks for the hot fudge recipe! How long does it keep in the fridge?

  2. I haven't made Hot Fudge in years! I was talking to my husband about it just the other day. Thanks for posting this recipe since I have no idea where my recipe is! How long does it last in the frig?

    We also give gifts of homemade goodies for Christmas.

  3. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your idea of buying a book and leaving notes throughout! How personal, and what a great way to "converse" about an idea or picture or passage of reading when you cant be there in person. I am going to use this idea, thanks for sharing!

  4. Super pumped for the art book!!!! I seriously can't wait. P.S. I forgot to eat the lemon drop last night got scolded this morning.... Love ya

  5. Oh, yum, homemade gifts are the best! The hot fudge sauce is fantastic, I make one with the same recipe and there is nothing from a grocery store that can beat it.

    Love the idea of giving books and sharing project ideas back and forth, too.

  6. Between your Hot Fudge Sauce, Bonnie, and my Homemade Caramel--we could have an ice cream social! Love your ideas. Stay warm and have a treasured Holiday and healthy New Year! XOXO

  7. I've been catching up on your posts, and you have sure been busy! I've never had venison before, the meatballs and sausage are a great way to use it. I love that you fill your nieces advent calender every year, what an awesome aunt you are!

  8. What great gifts. I love homemade gifts best. It just says it comes from the heart and means more to me. I LOVE the jars!! I'd love to have some recipes for jar gifts.

  9. That is such a wonderful idea to write notes in the books you and your sister give each other. I love this! B - you are one of the most industrious women I know. My hat's off to you! I'm with you on the gift giving, harried shopper, stressful, consumer oriented holiday celebrations. boo I say! This year I'm giving preserves and dried herbs from my garden. Maybe some candles if I really get motivated.

  10. What a marvelous idea about the books. One of my nephews sent me a copy of 'Passalong Plants' once. I wrote him a rather long email about the plants mentioned that my mother (his step-grandmother, he was her favorite) grew. He responded that he had printed all that to keep.

  11. I love this idea...simple, practical and totally in the spirit of Christmas.


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